Daytona Prototype Drivers Look to Turn Laps Led into Victory at EMCO Gears Classic DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 23, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley and its co-drivers, Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, will have their second chance at a...
Daytona Prototype Drivers Look to Turn Laps Led into Victory at EMCO Gears Classic
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 23, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley and its co-drivers, Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, will have their second chance at a Daytona Prototype three-peat this Saturday in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic at the historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio (SPEED Channel, Sunday, 12 p.m. ET).
Having logged back-to-back victories at Barber Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen International coming into this weekend, the SunTrust duo looks to add to its 21-point lead over No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz (282-261). Angelelli and Taylor led off the 2005 campaign with victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Grand Prix of Miami before finishing second at California Speedway in Round 3.
Despite a Rolex Series-leading fourth victory (and sixth podium finish) one race ago, life at the front of the pack hasn't been Angelelli and Taylor's alone. Through nine of 14 races in 2005, 37 different Rolex Series drivers have led at least one lap. Fifteen of the 37 have led laps in multiple races, proving that competition in front has been fierce. However, as the old adage goes: "It's not how you start, it's how you finish," and the No. 10 car has finished quite well.
Many teams will be out to unseat the SunTrust tandem Saturday, with Pruett and Diaz leading the charge. The No. 01 car has seen victory lane twice in 2005 and Pruett and Diaz have history on their side, as they prevented the SunTrust team's first three-peat bid with their win at California Speedway. Furthermore, Pruett and former co-driver Max Papis won this event a year ago, in the midst of a four-win Daytona Prototype championship season.
Another car to look out for this weekend is the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford, driven by Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson. The Howard-Boss Motorsports duo are just 25 points behind Pruett and Diaz for second place in the driver standings (261-236) and have already been victorious this season, winning the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway three races ago. Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson have recorded five top-five finishes and have combined for 98 laps led thus far in 2005.
Looking to continue his season-long success, Jorg Bergmeister will co-drive the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with Papis this weekend. In nine 2005 starts, Bergmeister has not finished lower than 10th, and has recorded four podium finishes. Papis, taking success one step further, has finished in the top-10 in all 18 of his Daytona Prototype races, including eight podium finishes with Pruett in 2004. Bergmeister and Papis haven't raced together since the Brumos Porsche 250.
Bergmeister and Papis look to visit the top step of the podium for the first time this season, something their teammates in the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley did in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June. Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson emerged victorious on that day in the No. 67 machine, leading a 1-2 sweep for Krohn Racing/TRG as Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi came home second in the No. 66. Krohn and Jonsson would love to add another winner's trophy to their case this weekend.
Despite falling out of the CompUSA 200 at The Glen due to contact, No. 19 Make-A-Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley co-drivers Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley must also be considered favorites at Mid-Ohio. Prior to a 20th place finish at Watkins Glen, the Finlay Motorsports duo put together four-straight top-five finishes, including a runner-up finish at Barber Motorsports Park in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant two races ago. The result was a Rolex Series career-best for Gidley and the 20-year-old McDowell, who is in his first year of Daytona Prototype competition.
Continuing its theme of top-10 finishes with a second place run in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen, No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley tandem of Alex Gurney and Bob Stallings are looking for a breakthrough victory. The two have finished in the top 10 in all four Daytona Prototype races they've entered this season.
With 215 Daytona Prototype driver points apiece, and well within striking distance of the 2005 championship (67 points behind the leaders), No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson also look for a breakthrough performance at Mid-Ohio. The two have logged back-to-back seventh-place finishes coming into the EMCO Gears Classic.
Similar to an English tennis player competing at Wimbledon or a golfer from Georgia playing in the Masters, there are plenty of Daytona Prototype teams racing with a "home-track advantage." Four Daytona Prototype teams competing this weekend have considerably shorter trips to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course than most, with headquarters in Ohio.
Doran Racing, based in Lebanon, Ohio will field the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran for Italian co-drivers Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin. There will be a two-car entry from Reynoldsburg's Michael Shank Racing, as Paul Mears Jr. and Mike Borkowski share the No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac Riley, while Brazilian Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson return to the team's No. 60 Lexus Riley for the first time since Round 4 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in early May. Powell-based Southard Motorsports completes Ohio's Daytona Prototype contingent with its No. 3 PAP-Parts/OZEXE BMW Riley for drivers Shane Lewis and Darius Grala.
After racing in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart in the CompUSA 200 at the Glen, Andy Wallace returns to action with regular teammate Milka Duno for the EMCO Gears Classic in the No. 2CITGO Pontiac Crawford. The duo was victorious at Mont-Tremblant earlier this season.
Sports car legend Hurley Haywood, who took off his firesuit just long enough to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame last Thursday in Detroit, will look to guide the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Fabcar with co-driver JC France to victory lane on Saturday. Haywood, who joined the likes Mario Andretti, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with enshrinement into the Hall, is a five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner, and can never be counted out of a Rolex Series race.
Look for many other Daytona Prototype entrants to make their presence felt throughout the weekend's activities, as a slew of teams look to make some noise in the overall standings. Among those teams are the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar pairing of David Donohue and Darren Law, the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran duo of Ralf Kelleners and Terry Borcheller, the No. 8 Rx.com/Synergy Racing BMW Doran combination of Burt and Brian Frisselle, the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing/Spiralz Custom Jewelry/Chemcraft Pontiac Crawford team of Doug Goad and Marc-Antoine Camirand, the No. 5 Essex Racing Ford Crawford pairing of Charles and Rob Morgan, the No. 15 DLGL/HRIS Software/Key Bank/McDonald Financial Group Pontiac Riley team of Chris Bingham and Hugo Guenette with CB Motorsports, and the No. 07 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX Pontiac Riley duo of Brian Tuttle and French hotshoe Jonathan Cochet,
The battle for supremacy in the GT class has gotten tighter in recent weeks, but No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup driver Craig Stanton continues to lead the point standings despite the fact that he's still looking for his first GT win this season. Stanton sits atop the GT points standings with 253, while co-driver David Murry, who has shared the No. 80 machine with Stanton for all but one race this season, comes into Mid-Ohio with 235 points, good for third place. Stanton and Murry have combined for eight straight GT top-six finishes coming into this weekend, including runner-up finishes at Mont-Tremblant in Round 5 and at Barber Motorsports Park two races ago.
Sandwiched between Stanton and Murry in the standings is Joey Hand with 242 points. Hand will co-drive BMW Team PTG's No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 with Justin Marks, who stands fourth in the GT championship. Racing together for the past three races, Hand and Marks have recorded two victories and a runner-up result, with GT victories in the Brumos Porsche 250 and at Barber Motorsports Park and a second-place performance at Watkins Glen nearly two weeks ago.
With six top-five finishes in 2005, teammates Andy Lally and Marc Bunting look to power the No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R to the GT class victory at Mid-Ohio. The duo took top GT honors at the Grand Prix of Miami in March and finished second at California in Round 3 and in their first trip of the season to Watkins Glen in Round 6.
The brand-new Pontiac GTO.R created a lot of buzz in the GT class in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen earlier this month, as Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen co-drove the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R to its first class victory. The new Pontiacs were introduced to the sports car racing world three races ago in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona and have fared well in competition. Bunting and Lally have recorded back-to-back fourth place finishes in the car leading up to this weekend's competition.
A total of 25 GT class entries will join the Daytona Prototypes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, as the green flag drops for the EMCO Gears Classic at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The race will be televised on SPEED Channel on Sunday, August 28 at 12 p.m. ET.
Sunday's featured event will be the Grand-Am Cup 200, which will be Round 9 of 11 for the Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport (GS) class and Round 8 of 10 for the Sport Touring (ST) class. No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT driver David Empringham leads the GS point standings, while No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 pilot David Haskell stands atop the ST points table.
After a promoter test day on Thursday, August 25, the race weekend gets underway on Friday, August 26 as the Rolex Series GT class drivers take to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for practice beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET. The GT machines will be joined on track by the Daytona Prototypes for one hour beginning at 10 a.m., followed by a 30-minute session for Daytona Prototypes only from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
The Grand-Am Cup Series holds its first practice session of the weekend from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET on Friday, followed by another Rolex Series practice session from 2:10 to 2:55 p.m. The Grand-Am Cup Series returns for practice from 3:40 to 4:20 p.m., while Rolex Series qualifying completes the day's activities. The 15-minute Rolex Series GT qualifying session takes the green flag at 4:30 p.m., with Daytona Prototype qualifying slated to run from 4:55 to 5:10 p.m.
Leading off Saturday's schedule will be Grand-Am Cup Series practice from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. ET, followed by the final Rolex Series practice session of the weekend from 10:25 to 11:05 a.m. An hour-long driver autograph session is scheduled to begin at 12:00 Noon, followed by Grand-Am Cup practice from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. Grand-Am Cup ST qualifying will run from 3:45 to 4:00 p.m., followed by Grand-Am Cup GS qualifying from 4:10 to 4:25 p.m.
Following the Grand-Am Cup qualifying sessions, there will be an hour break before the green flag drops in the Rolex Series EMCO Gears Classic at 5:30 p.m. ET. The race is a 111-lap trek around the, 2.258-mile, 13-turn course (250.638 miles) with a two-hour and 45-minute time limit.
Sunday's schedule calls for the Grand-Am Cup Series to have its final practice session from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. ET, followed by the Grand-Am Cup 200 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The scheduled distance for the Grand-Am Cup 200 is 89 laps (200.962 miles) with a two-and-a-half hour time limit. The Grand-Am Cup 200 will be televised on SPEED Channel at 12:00 Noon ET on Saturday, September 17.